February 20, 2017

Bangkok 2017 day 3: the Tanao trio

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One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was to check out some old school Thai restaurants that have been running for a few generations, and I thought I'd start by going back to Chote Chitr.  It was where I had my last meal before my self-imposed exile, and I was curious to see how the place had changed (or not) after 9 years.

We arrived pretty late, and the place was practically empty.  Hello Kitty got herself a bottle of Chang, and I picked out three dishes for our meal - knowing that there were still two stops I wanted to hit after lunch...

Banana flowers spicy salad (ยำหัวปลี) - this is one of the signature dishes here, and I never got to eat it the first time, so it was an itch I needed to scratch. Unfortunately, this wasn't anything to write home about.  The chicken was bland and boring, and even the diced banana flower was unremarkable.

Dry yellow curry on deep-fried pork (หมูทอด) - they didn't have crab today, so we ordered this instead.  Totally WTF.  The curry wasn't dry at all, and the flavors were diluted and sweet.  Basically, a very wet and sweet Japanese katsukare (カツカレー)...

Crispy noodles with chicken and shrimps (หมี่กรอบ) - I was very impressed with this mee krob 9 years ago, so I definitely wanted to have it again.  This came fresh from the wok, so the noodles were very, very crispy.  While I liked the tamarind sauce and the tanginess that it brought, Hello Kitty was unhappy with the flavors that come from cooking with oil that has been used many, many times - or in her words, "thousand-year-oil".

Sooo... not such a successful visit.  Zero for three.  I don't think I'll go back again.

But the silver lining of dining here is that we were literally steps away from two dessert shops I wanted to hit.  First there is Nuttaporn (นัฐพร) just around the corner.  This unassuming corner shop sells some old school ice cream, and I could definitely use some to cool down!  Apparently run by the third generation for more than 70 years.

Mango ice cream - wow!  This was seriously old school.  I haven't tasted this texture in my ice cream for a long, long time.  Made with Mahachanok (มหาชนก) mangoes, the texture was very silky and smooth.  The flavors were also much more delicate than your average mass production, store-bought branded ice cream.  The flavors were very familiar to me, like the mangoes I used to eat when I was young and spending my holidays in Bangkok.  More clean and "green" than, say, the Irwin mangoes found in Taiwan.  It was surprisingly not too sweet, and in fact delivered a noticeable level of salt.  Yum.

Coconut ice - as others have said, this is more like a fine granita rather than ice cream.  Very, very clean and pure coconut water flavor.  Incredibly refreshing.  I didn't want peanuts or any other topping, because I just wanted to focus on that purity.  Slurp!

Having gotten my ice cream, it was time to go get some of that classic Thai dessert - mango with glutinous rice.  Fortunately we have Kor Panich (ก. พานิช) around the corner, which has been around since 1932.  The owners claim that the recipe came from the palace kitchen.

Most people just come to buy their glunitous rice by the kilo with coconut milk, then get their whole mangoes from either the vendors right next to this place or closer to home.  Being tourists, we were lazy and just bought them together as a set and took it back to our serviced apartment.

Mango with glutinous rice (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) - the khao niew kiew ngoo (ข้าวเหนียวมะม่วง) rice from Chiang Rai (เชียงราย) was certainly glutinous and sticky, and had a nice, firm chewy texture.  The was a good amount of mangoes here, and plenty of coconut milk that we drizzled on top.  Very nice.

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